March 16-17, 2023
Main building | Te Ata Theater
SQUID was a work of dance theater centering on the intimacy contained in the imaginary space of two people trapped at the bottom of the ocean. SQUID was the collaborative creation of longtime dance partners Leslie Kraus and Douglas Gillespie — their first after more than a decade of acclaimed duets with the Kate Weare Dance Company.
SQUID was partly inspired by Vampyroteuthis Infernalis (“vampire squid from hell”) by Viliém Flusser and Louis Bec. Described as “part scientific treatise, part spoof, part philosophical discourse, part fable,” the authors suggest a powerful and ancient relationship between humans and vampyroteuthes.
Humans and vampyroteuthes live far apart from one another. We would be crushed by the pressure of its abyss, and it would suffocate in the air that we breathe. When we hold its relatives captive in aquaria … they kill themselves: They devour their own arms. How we would conduct ourselves if dragged to its depths … remains to be seen.
Kraus and Gillespie’s long dance relationship completed and broadened the inspiration; relationships placed within a pressurized environment and amplified through microscopic observations were the seed material for SQUID. The love, the conflict, the trust and the betrayal between the two trapped beings blossomed within the deep conditions.
Directed by Leslie Kraus
Choreography: Leslie Kraus and Douglas Gillespie
Live sound design: Warren Realrider
Scenic design: Erasmo Salinas
Lighting design: Harrison Best
This work was supported in part by the Oklahoma Visual Arts Coalition, through their Grants for Artists program.